Alex Rodriguez may have spent the final 12 years of his MLB career as a fierce rival of the Boston Red Sox following the collapse of a near-trade from the Texas Rangers to the Red Sox and subsequent move to the New York Yankees in 2003.
But even A-Rod, who joined Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take," this week, admits that he really wanted to land in Boston in '03.
"I thought the rivalry of Yankees-Red Sox was ripe; 2003 was the year [Boston] almost beat the Yankees," Rodriguez said. "They couldn't. They lost that crazy Game 7 when Aaron Boone walks off in extra innings off [Tim] Wakefield."
Not only did Rodriguez see himself as the answer to beating the Yankees and ending Boston's 86-year championship drought, he also liked the idea of bringing a head-to-head rivalry to the shortstop position against the Yankees' Derek Jeter.
"They had a great shortstop in [Derek] Jeter [and] they had won four championships over the last eight years or so," Rodriguez recalled of the prospect of going against Jeter as Boston's superstar shortstop. "So I was like, this is perfect.
"This creates kind of a Magic-Bird scenario -- great for baseball, great for us, both shortstops, pretty good."
But A-Rod's desire to be in Boston also came back to the youthful dynamic of the Boston front office, which at the time was led by the wunderkind duo of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, which aligned with the ultra-talented slugger's own window.
“I knew once I met with Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer]," Rodriguez began. "At the time, [Epstein] was 28 and I was around the same age, Jed was the same age, and I saw the way these guys thought and the way they think about kind of architecting the house and putting it all together. I go, ‘Holy s--t, these guys are really, really smart.'
"I knew they were going to win and win big, so I wanted to be a part of it."
Rodriguez would turn out to be right about Boston's long-term plans, as the Sox captured three World Series titles during A-Rod's 12-year run as the top threat of their chief rival, with Epstein at the helm for two of those three championships. Although you have to wonder if it would have played out that way had A-Rod landed in Boston as intended, as it would have come at the expense of Manny Ramirez (a straight-up destroyer of baseballs throughout his Boston run), Nomar Garciaparra (later flipped for 2004 playoff performer Orlando Cabrera), and a then-prospect by the name of Jon Lester.
Rodriguez, of course, would only win one championship during his run with the Yankees (2009).
But before New York came calling and completely changed the landscape of the American League East, when everything fell apart between Texas and Boston, Rodriguez recalled drowning his sorrows the old fashioned way.
"I was saddened by [not getting traded to the Red Sox]," Rodriguez admitted. "I went out one night. There's this place called Life, and I just got toasted drunk that night. I threw up, I was so bummed."